Ambitious RNA biotech Alnylam raising $450M, looking for acquisitions
- With RNA technology making rapid advances after a moribund period, Alnylam is upping the ante by raising money, going after acquisitions, and setting a goal of three new marketed products and 10 clinical-stage candidates by 2020.
- The $450 million offering for Alnylam, which is based in Cambridge, MA, is being managed by JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.
- Alnylam's stock has risen in value, hovering at the $100-a-share mark, as RNA technology makes a resurgence in popularity after a period of setbacks experienced by companies such as Roche, Merck, and Novartis.
When it comes to RNA-based R&D, what's old is new—and what's new is new. In early 2014, Sanofi bought a 12% stake in Alnylam for $700 million, based on the strength of the company's proprietary approach to RNAi.
Alnylam's approach involves using RNAi to silence disease-causing genes by short-circuiting the body's natural messaging systems. With funds from the Sanofi deal, combined with funds from this year's deal, Alnylam has a good shot of achieving its 2015 goal of getting seven pipeline therapies into the clinic.